Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chloe is Home for the Holidays!

Chloe is home for the holidays!!!! Means the WORLD to us that she's here, safely in her own little homespital. So much to rejoice over.

And that's just what we're doing.

A sweet friend chatted with my hubs last week about surprising me for coffee with some friends. Somehow, by her creative genius, she ended up snowballing it into an all out amazing pamper me+pamper Chloe baby shower!!! I couldn't be more blessed and had such an amazing time.

I can't lie though. I tossed and turned the night before. My friends are amazing and bless me in SO many ways...but we're all in the same season of life, which is having babies and raising young families. I was struggling the night before with anxiety of wondering how my emotions would be the next day, as I sat next to friends who've had babies since Chloe was born, who found out they were expecting about the time we had Chloe, and now have brand-new-fresh-from-the-oven babes in their arms. I prayed for strength and for joy. That I would be strong enough to actually go, knowing that my friends care so deeply for me that this is their love for me flowing out. For joy to hold their babies and talk about teething and diapers without tears or envy. And I knew that if I needed to, I could be honest with every soul in that room about the struggles I was having with this, emotionally speaking, and that they wouldn't judge, but instead would wrap their arms around me and pray with me for strength. The peace I had knowing this gave me the strength to go.

And the Lord provided both joy and strength.

I was late to my own party. Not because I overslept, and I can't even use the excuse that I was helping with the kids or something. My hubs was sweet enough to take care of them so I'd have time to get ready. I was late because this was the first, the FIRST time out since...well...this summer???...that I was going out without children, and to a place that was not a pharmacy, a hospital, an urgent care waiting room, a grocery run, or a quick grab of coffee. I was hanging with my friends. I can't remember the last time this happened. So I was excited, but also trying to figure out what to wear. I haven't been to a shower in ages...and it's a Christmasy to dress cute, like holiday wear?? Not that I have any. To dress casual?? The thought crossed my mind that since we're all moms, I should have clarified that we all dress in yoga pants and sweatshirts to feel more at ease. That if they wore the same outfit from the previous day they'd get a door prize. I tried on 2 scarves. I stood for 20...TWENTY...minutes fixing my scarf. Why? I don't know. I was just wanting to actually look nice for once. It was fun to think I'd have a morning where I didn't have to help give a Lovenox injection, to get to put amazing scented lotions on my hands instead of non-latex exam gloves, to get to actually do my hair instead of whip it into a pony and run down to help suction. That I could wear jeans-cute jeans that I'm working my bum off literally to fit back into-instead of sweats.

I was so excited that when I went to leave, I kept asking Alan where the keys were. And he shot me a dumbfounded look back and said, "In the car. That's warming up for you. Right outside the door. Can't you hear it running??"

I ran out the door. Hopped in the van. Checked my lipgloss. Checked for stray children behind the van in the rearview mirror. Then proceeded to back into the trashcan at the end of our driveway. And if that's not enough, I actually backed it INTO the road. Then I quickly took off my gloves and texted my hubs, "So can you come get the trashcan?"

It should be noted here that I think nearly all of us wore scarves that day. We were a trendy little bunch. But seriously, mine was too hot and I kept fidgeting with it. Don't lie, friends, be honest-did y'all take yours off the minute you got back in your cars too?

This is what I walked in to...

Incase you haven't caught up, my friends and I are a bit obsessed with chalkboards. 

The minute I got over my envy of her baby grand piano by the entryway, I was confronted with these letters. J O Y. What my prayer has been through this entire journey. And I knew today would be filled with it. Every single one of us in that room has a story. We've all had chapters where we've had to pray for JOY, because joy is the only way to smile through a storm. It's not with happiness. Happiness and sorrow or struggle cannot mix, but joy and struggle can. 

And today, they all chose to set aside their crazy insane schedules, and love on me and Chloe. 

And the tears formed.

I was actually, in a wild turn of craziness in the universe, not late. So I grabbed some pics of the set up my friend did, while she checked her baked awesomeness in the oven. 

This gal knows my heart, so there was coffee. And creamer. And toasted marshmallow syrup. And for when that was done, home made apple cider like I've never tasted before. 

I asked her how to work her creamer thingy. "Just make it moo!" is all she said. Love it. Love her. Love the decor. And I felt like I was breathing in new, fresh air for the first time in months.

My heart. needed. THIS.

I snuck this shot because I love that she kept the hospitality real: she didn't fuss over every single cluttered detail, but focused on the heart of it all. I love that her counters weren't tidy and shiny, but loved and layered with heartfelt hand me down recipes, crafts, notes, pens, and phones. She knew where to draw the line on be a host, and be a friend, and she took the time to hug me and welcome me instead of rush back to the kitchen to check on things or tidy up the rest. I love that about her. #learningfrommyfriends

My friends poured in. We talked. We hugged. We laughed. It felt surreal. I can't lie...I kept my phone right beside me half expecting Alan or the nurse to call. I nearly fell off the couch when my friend swiftly grabbed her four month old out of her carrier to show me how much hair she had, then I had to apologize for overreacting at the move because, well, moving Chloe requires slow, precise judgement and placement of tubes and cords. It's been so long since I've seen a baby be moved around on a whim, without talking through where her suction machine will that we were able to laugh that moment off though.

My friend hosting the party asked each person to write an example or way that I define strength and beauty because those are two traits that came to mind when she thinks of me. Please know, I do not say this to boast because there are far more days that outweigh the good where I actually feel strong and like my life is beautiful...but today, this was just the reminder I needed. I felt as if the Lord was speaking through my friends telling me yes, you are loved, you are worthy, this path is for a reason, I am using you and your family through this to teach others. It was a much needed reminder. I can't even begin to sum up the heartfelt words that were spoken amongst us. The tears that slowly crept out of our eyes and eventually to a waterfall of hot tears on my cheeks and other's. I cannot thank each individual in that room enough for making me feel loved. I can't begin to say what these words mean to me and that I will cherish through this journey, just so long as my kids don't find the cards and write on them before I have a chance to put them up!

It was amazing. Each of us have beautiful lives filled with family and kids and schedules, and yet, we were there, gathered in His name, together. Fellowship. Unity. Loved. The fact that we all made a point to be there, to be present in each other's lives, meant the world to me. My soul aches when others complain about how busy life is, especially when they lead perfectly normal lives. If you want it to slow down, you have to be the one to make that decision and to make that a priority. My friends did that for me to show me how much they care, and I'm speechless as to how to thank each of them for changing their schedules and gathering together on a Wednesday morning. {Side note: Please know that I completely understand for those who could not be there ;). I was in shock that this many were able to come!! Please know that I still think you're all awesome and amazing ;)}

After tears, there was laughter. And food. Amazing, home made goodness.

There were gifts for Chloe and for me. One of which my sweet three year old found later that day, and we only realized she'd lathered herself in my new Christmas scented Bath and Body Works lotion because the scent was so good that my hubs and I each looked at each other wondering where that smell of Christmas was coming from, only to then find our daughter's hands LATHERED in it. Couldn't help but laugh.

Two friends got the exact same gift from the exact same store and wrapped it in the exact same gift bag. Just sayin.

And for the record, the baby in the pic below belongs to its mama in the pic above on the left ;). We fun to see the babies be passed around the friends and let the mama's be hands free, if only for a few minutes. 

That last picture, with me in the middle (holding a fresh bag of Starbucks coffee)...well my friend on the right just gave birth about 2 weeks ago. Seriously. I could hurt her for looking this AMAZING just TWO weeks after an epidural!! How in the world does a new mama do that!? She swears it's just amazing concealer. I've had three kids. I don't buy it.

P.S. That's me, holding her sweet born-during-a-full-moon baby before she was even twelve hours old. Another day that the Lord provided the joy and strength to visit her in the hospital where I would have had Chloe, had it been a normal birth. But I was overjoyed to meet Miss Alex, and wouldn't trade that moment or those emotions for the world.

But back on subject...

Although I'm not a fan of this pic because my eyes were practically swimming out of my head, floating away with the tears from just a few minutes prior, and I have no idea what possessed me to attempt a Princess Diana pose with my head, but yet there's such beauty in this pic. I'm so grateful to this lady. She not only sung my kids to sleep for an entire YEAR (in her defense, she helped record a song at church that the kids loved so much, they'd beg for it on repeat at bedtime), but took the time to love on me and Chloe and thus our family. What you can't see is that approximately 3cm below the cutoff of this pic is a precious growing belly holding a treasure inside. Again, blessed to be filled with nothing but absolute joy for her and her growing family. 

I can't sum up what that morning meant to me. I can't put into words what it means when we willingly face life and accept the roads we're on and ask the Lord for joy to walk those roads instead of sit on the bench and ask why. I can't explain the amount of love in that room. I can't describe or put into words, into black and white letters on this page what it felt like to be surrounded by such strong, amazing women, such amazing mamas. My heart and soul needed this. My eyes needed to take this moment in. My ears needed to hear the reminders that even though my days consist of me at home helping the nurse and barely able to schedule any time out of the house, that they're still here for me. For our family. For our littles. For Chloe. 

They haven't moved. They haven't left. They're walking this road with me. With us. They're helping by His grace to breathe life into our weary souls. 

And for that, we give thanks, and begin the holiday season. 


Post a Comment